Developing a Theological Vision in Education

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Developing a Theological Vision in Education

We were pleased to welcome Professor Trevor Cooling as he shared his thoughts around his work in the development of the Church of England’s vision for education. The evening was a thought-provoking opportunity to reflect on how educational leaders can have a theologically-informed vision in the midst of an increasingly secularised system of education.

This is an ongoing issue for educators as the pressure to abandon faith in any professional environment continues to gather momentum. Trevor provided key insights for future leaders in regards to being faithful and developing a theological vision of what might be possible.

Speaker: Professor Trevor Cooling

Professor Trevor Cooling is Professor of Christian Education at the National Institute for Christian Research, Canterbury Christ Church University UK and an internationally respected speaker on Christian education.

Trevor's role is to lead on research and knowledge exchange in Christian Education. His background is as a secondary school teacher, where he started his career as a biology teacher and then moved into RE teaching having taken two years out to study for a theology qualification. His PhD is in RE, but his research interests are now focussed on the interaction between Christian theology and the issues that surround the provision of public (i.e. state-funded) education in post-Christian democracies. As well as being a teacher Trevor has worked as Director of a Christian educational charity, as an adviser in a Church of England diocese and as a principal lecturer in theology at the University of Gloucestershire. His current work is focused on so-called faith schools that are sponsored by Christian organisations and are part of government education provision in Britain. Trevor is particularly interested in Anglican schools and is currently leading two research projects investigating Christian-ethos secondary schools in England and Wales.

Trevor has a particular interest in Christian pedagogy and was involved in developing the Concept Cracking approach to RE and the What If Learning approach to other subjects ( Trevor regularly speaks at conferences and events organised by dioceses and other Christian sponsors of schools and is a frequent visitor to Australia where he works with Anglican and other schools in the development of their distinctively Christian character. Trevor's writing is focussed on two areas: (a) the place of distinctively Christian education in a religiously diverse context and (b) the development of a distinctively Christian approach to teaching and learning. Recently the publication which has attracted most interest is Doing God in Education (Theos, 2010) which was the subject of an RSA debate and a special edition of the Oxford Review of Education.

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Further Reading for Teacher Identified Professional Development

Below you will find a number of readings connected to the content of this event. This reading can be accredited as Teacher Identified Professional Development. Enter it into your personal log and into your online professional development record with NESA. Don’t forget to write a short explanation of how the activity addressed the standard descriptors you nominated.


We supplied the first three readings as pre-reading for the event, the last four are suggested post-event readings. 

Pre-event Readings

1. Cooling, T. (2017a). The threat to better learning in Christian education. In Goodlet, K., Collier, J., & George, T. (Ed.), Better Learning: Trajectories for educators in Christian schools (pp. 107-116). Canberra, ACT: St Mark’s NTC Publishing.

2. Cooling, T. (2014a). Enabling the Bible to control learning. In Goodlet, K. & Collier, J. (Ed.), Teaching Well: Insights for educators in Christian schools (pp. 53-62). Barton, ACT: Barton Books.

3. Cooling, T. (2014b). The diversity of school culture. In Goodlet, K. & Collier, J. (Ed.), Teaching Well: Insights for educators in Christian schools (pp. 151-162). Barton, ACT: Barton Books.

Post-event Readings

4. Cooling, T. (2013). The formation of the Christian teacher: the role of faithfulness to the Bible in conceptalising learning.In Morris, A.B. (Ed), Re-Imagining Christian Education for the 21st Century (p.145-160). Chelmsford, Essex, UK: Matthew James Publishing.

5. Cooling, T. (2015a). The Bible in Education.The Christian Teacher’s Journal, 23(3), p20-23.

6. Cooling, T. (2015b). Two ladies, one professor and a mouse. Professional Reflection in RE Today, 32(3), p49-52.
7. Cooling, T. (2017b). Children’s spiritual development in school.The Bible in Transmission, 2017(Spring), p18-20. Stonehill Green, Westlea, Swindon, UK: Bible Society UK.